Winning the ‘Trifecta’

How SecureLink helped the Town of Gilbert, AZ scale productivity with security, usability, and cost-effectiveness

 

About Gilbert, Arizona:

The Town of Gilbert’s Office of Information Technology manages 1,500 employees and provides technical services for the community’s 260,000 residents. In addition to maintaining hardware, such as municipal computers, telephones, and networking systems, they are responsible for providing connectivity for a wide range of software and applications, as well as supporting municipal websites, GIS mapping, digital documentation, and more.

The challenge:

To bring the most secure, scalable, and cost-effective third-party remote access platform to the Town of Gilbert, AZ and its 260,000 residents.

The solution:

With a clientless and web-based application, SecureLink helped the Town of Gilbert to immediately reduce the friction of remote connection and boost employee and vendor productivity.

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It’s the phone call no information security executive wants to get. Just a few months into his tenure as Chief Information Security Officer for the Town of Gilbert, AZ, Tony Bryson learned that one of his municipality’s most important vendors experienced a cyber incident. Their first concern was whether their data had been compromised. But they were also worried about the long-term implications of a partnership that provided critical services to the town.
Nearly 60 percent of data breaches can be traced to third-party vendors, according to industry research. In addition, falling out of compliance and ending a partnership with a long-term vendor can lead to a substantial loss of money, time, and productivity.

But Bryson said their SecureLink solution meant uninterrupted assurance. “The fact that we had SecureLink as a gateway gave us not only the peace of mind that we knew who was connecting through the system, it helped us establish a level of trust between our vendors and us,” he said.

With SecureLink, Bryson said, they knew they could not only validate any vendor connecting to them, but they could also place vendors within a particular support envelope that prevented damage to their systems and review an audit log in the case of any problem.

“Having SecureLink gave us a level of transparency that we needed,” he said. “Without it, we may not have had that ability to move forward with that vendor.”

Seamless and streamlined security at scale

When the Town of Gilbert first started working with SecureLink six years ago, the key catalyst was compliance. The town needed a solution that enabled them to securely and seamlessly provide application services to hundreds of thousands of residents in a manner that met state and federal data protection and privacy laws. But they found that their previous vendor management program was too complex, unwieldy, and expensive.

While they had used Virtual Private Network (VPN) services in the past, they found them to be cumbersome and lacking flexibility. Not only do VPNs take longer to install, they also don’t provide an airtight security environment for third-party vendors.

An intuitive user interface that drives productivity

But SecureLink’s approach to remote management combines a simple, intuitive user interface with a powerful clientless, web-based application. As a result, Bryson said, vendors can spend more time focusing on their support activities and less time figuring out how to get into the system.

“When a vendor does have to respond to a support call for us, they tend to connect quickly, get the job done, and then, boom, they’re gone,” he said. “And it goes back to the simplicity of the system and the elegance of the interface.”

The platform’s ease of use also streamlines the process of training employees. Even those without technical backgrounds can immediately start using the application, which saves time and money.

A ‘force multiplier’ for your workforce

Another win? “The economics make sense,” Bryson said, which is especially important for a public sector organization. “The platform itself provides more functionality and value at its price point than competing solutions,” said Bryson. But it unlocks even more cost-savings and returns through its ability to boost productivity.

For example, instead of assigning a team member to a remotely-connected vendor to manually validate connections and input passwords, SecureLink frees up staff to attend to other needs.

“It’s a force multiplier,” Bryson said. “We no longer have to sit there and handhold vendors and watch them because the engagement is recorded. So we’re almost doubling the effectiveness of our workforce.”

“And,” he added, “when it comes to vendors, they can bring in best-in-class service providers and not have to worry about flying them in or putting them up in a hotel suite. They can work from anywhere and quickly and safely access their systems, which will only become more important in the years to come.”

Keeping pace with evolving trends

“The world is shifting more and more to an online environment where service providers reach out and virtually touch your systems. So to keep up, we need services like SecureLink to help keep our system secure and our vendors on their toes. The fact that we have this product to lean on is just a massive advantage for us,” he said. “And because of where we’re headed with the post COVID-19 world, this is a service that we’re going to need more of, not less.”

Six years ago, when the Town of Gilbert first partnered with SecureLink, they selected the platform because it offered the full “trifecta” of advantages: security, usability, and cost-effectiveness. As the town’s needs have evolved, Bryson and his colleagues said SecureLink has evolved in lockstep, keeping the municipality on the edge of innovation – and protected at all times.

“One of the things that I think is really, really important is that SecureLink focuses on being nimble and addressing changes that are happening within the industry,” said Bryson. “It’s freeing. It allows the chief security officer the chance to sleep at night.”

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"It’s a force multiplier. We no longer have to sit there and handhold vendors and watch them because the engagement is recorded. So we’re almost doubling the effectiveness of our workforce."

Tony Bryson, Chief Information Security Officer for the Town of Gilbert, AZ

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